A Seasonal Downturn for Social Networks?

Peter Kafka has posted the January comScore statistics for Facebook and MySpace and last month wasn’t too great. A quick look at Compete.com statistics for Facebook.com shows a pattern of decreased activity during the months of December and January as a seasonal problem. As I will be covering in my post early tomorrow morning users are becoming fatigued from social networks though making it increasingly important for these sites to come up with effective monetization strategies.

As the user base increases on sites like Facebook and MySpace we are also witnessing a decrease in general activity. This is expected though. Early users on social networks are typically more active then the late-comers. Also reading too deep into monthly comScore statistics is never to useful. It is much better instead to look at year over year growth of page views and time spent on the site.

Facebook experienced 23 percent growth in page views over the past year and an 80.5 percent growth the total number of minutes spent on the site. MySpace on the other hand experienced an 8.6 percent growth in page views over the past year and was flat for the total number of minutes spent on the site compared to last year. Honestly, I think January numbers a less effective gauge for future growth. Wait for February statistics to see if there is a pattern of decreased traffic.

One surprising note in the comScore data was a 13.7 percent gain in the number of minutes spent by each user on MySpace. That’s a significant gain for the social networking behemoth.